Green Street
NEED TO KNOW
Don't forget to follow Ben on Twitter.
A WEEI.com Celtics Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network
NBA draft prospect profile: Florida SF Dorian Finney-Smith 06.03.16 at 4:26 pm ET
By   |  Filed under General  |  Comments Off on NBA draft prospect profile: Florida SF Dorian Finney-Smith

As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

DORIAN FINNEY-SMITH

Position: Small forward

School: Florida

Age: 23

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 215 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-0

Key 2015-16 stats: 14.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists

Scouting report: Finney-Smith is a forward who has all the physical tools necessary for today’s NBA. A projected late second-round pick, he has the wingspan and leaping ability to excel above the rim, and his natural athleticism helps him defend both small forwards and point guards. He improved his outside jumper while at Florida, and can contribute on the glass for any NBA team.

“His ceiling compared to some of these guys people are weighing against, him in terms of drafting him or Dorian, might not measure up,” Florida coach Mike White told NBA.com. “We’re talking about 6-9 freak [athletes] with vertical leaps. But I think [Finney-Smith] is a guy that right now is ready. He played in the Final Four. He can contribute to a winner, get out there and not hurt you, guard a couple of positions.”

One of the question marks with Finney-Smith is whether or not he can become a 15-point-per-game scorer at the next level. He did most of his scoring on set shots or on putbacks, and he hasn’t shown that he can create his own shot. Finney-Smith turned 23 in May, so he likely has very limited upside. He’s not outstanding in any one area, often relying on his size and length to make plays.

Notes: At the NBA combine last month, Finney-Smith posted a 38.5-inch standing vertical leap, the highest this year and the third highest in combine history. He made second-team All-SEC after ranking second in the conference in total rebounds (300) and fourth in player efficiency rating (23.9). Finney-Smith, whose nickname is Doe-Doe, spent his freshman year at Virginia Tech before transferring to Florida for his sophomore year. In 2008 he witnessed his brother Ra-Shawn shot multiple times at a party. Ra-Shawn, who was a high school senior and star football player, died two weeks later. Finney-Smith has a 4-year-old daughter.

Related articles:

NBA.com: Having overcome obstacles, Finney-Smith ready for NBA

SB Nation: Dorian Finney-Smith has the type of versatility the Celtics value

MassLive.com: Boston Celtics auditioning Dorian Finney-Smith, Sheldon McClellan, among others

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Dorian Finney-Smith,
NBA draft prospect profile: Kansas SG Wayne Selden 06.03.16 at 12:49 pm ET
By   |  Filed under General  |  Comments Off on NBA draft prospect profile: Kansas SG Wayne Selden

As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

WAYNE SELDEN

Position: Shooting guard

School: Kansas

Age: 21 (turns 22 on Sept. 30)

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 232 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-11

Key 2015-16 stats: 13.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 38.3 3-point field goal percentage

Scouting report: Selden struggled his first two years in Kansas, but he bounced back impressively in the 2015-16 season. He improved his shooting and perimeter defense, two things that are crucial in the NBA. Selden has the physical tools to further improve his defensive versatility, and has improved his shooting both off the dribble and coming off screens. His competitiveness will be sure to intrigue NBA teams, but recent right knee surgery kept him from fully participating at the NBA draft combine.

“You want to get out there and always want to be able to compete and stuff like that,” Selden said after the combine. “But I’m not trying to rush anything, so I’m just going to take my time, and when I’m ready I’ll be out there.”

Besides the knee, NBA scouts question Selden’s lateral quickness on the defensive end, as well as his ball-handling. Another concern is his free throw shooting. Despite shooting 38.3 percent from deep, he only hit 61.7 percent of his free throws. It may be a mental issue that causes Selden to shoot so poorly from the charity stripe. Whatever it is, he’ll need to fix it if he wants to take full advantage of his high-flying drives to the basket. He is projected to be drafted in the middle of the second round.

Notes: A Roxbury native, Selden attended Tilton School in New Hampshire before heading to Kansas. He made the All-Big 12 second team last season and led the Jayhawks to a Big 12 Championship.

Related articles:

KSHB.com: Wayne Selden Jr. talks leaving KU, preparing for NBA draft

KUsports.com: Wayne Selden’s knee injury not helping 2nd-round status

Boston Herald: NBA draft prospect Wayne Selden embraces Boston connection

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Wayne Selden,
Report: 76ers discuss sending Nerlens Noel to Hawks for Jeff Teague 06.03.16 at 11:37 am ET
By   |  Filed under General  |  Comments Off on Report: 76ers discuss sending Nerlens Noel to Hawks for Jeff Teague

Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel

There has been speculation that the Celtics are interested in 76ers center Nerlens Noel, and they previously were linked to Hawks guard Jeff Teague when he was said to be available at the trade deadline.

Now those two players might end up getting traded for each other.

According to a report from Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania, the Sixers recently had discussions with the Hawks about sending Noel to Atlanta so Philadelphia could fill its hole at point guard with the veteran Teague.

Noel, known for his defense, averaged 11.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks this season. The 6-foot-11 product of Everett was selected sixth overall in 2013 out of Kentucky and sat out his rookie season due to an ACL team. He is about to enter the third and final year of his rookie contract and then will be a restricted free agent.

The Sixers also are said to be willing to move center Jahlil Okafor, who is coming off a promising rookie season, but that would seem unlikely if they trade Noel.

Teague, who turns 28 next week and can be an unrestricted free agent next offseason, averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 79 games this season, his seventh with the Hawks. He was an All-Star last season, but 22-year-old Dennis Schroder started taking some of his minutes this year.

Read More: Jeff Teague, Nerlens Noel,
NBA draft prospect profile: Kentucky SG Jamal Murray 06.03.16 at 9:36 am ET
By   |  Filed under General  |  Comments Off on NBA draft prospect profile: Kentucky SG Jamal Murray

As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

JAMAL MURRAY

Position: Shooting guard

School: Kentucky

Age: 19

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 200 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-7

Key 2015-16 stats: 20.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 40.8 3-point field goal percentage

Scouting report: Murray is a scorer, plain and simple. He showed throughout his freshman campaign that he’s more than comfortable driving into the lane or moving off the ball for an open look. His deep ball has to be respected, and he thrives with the game on the line. NBADraft.net says that the likely top-10 pick “makes putting the ball in the basket look effortless,” something many NBA teams crave for.

Murray, who hails from Canada, hit almost 41 percent of his 3-pointers last season and does not expect a major change when shooting NBA 3-pointers in the future.

“Not much of a transition,” Murray said recently. “Just being consistent, adjusting my form a little bit, adjusting my strength and how much I lift.”

In order to be a true combo guard, Murray will have to learn to take better care of the ball. He averaged more turnovers (2.3) than assists (2.2), a very clear indicator that his ball handling must improve quickly. He is often too aggressive on the defensive end, gambling to steal the ball and hurting himself in the process. Murray will have to learn to make plays for others in order to stay afloat at the professional level.

Notes: Murray was selected to the All-SEC first team and the SEC All-Freshman team. He helped Kentucky clinch an SEC championship and led the conference in field goals (244).

Related articles:

ESPN: Inside look at Ingram, Murray and Maker

CBS sports: Jamal Murray vs. Buddy Hield is a close call

Fansided: Is Jamal Murray the best scorer in the draft?

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Jamal Murray,
NBA draft prospect profile: Croatia C Ivica Zubac 06.02.16 at 3:46 pm ET
By   |  Filed under General  |  Comments Off on NBA draft prospect profile: Croatia C Ivica Zubac

As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

IVICA ZUBAC

Position: Center

Country: Croatia (Mega Leks)

Age: 19

Height: 7-foot-1

Weight: 265 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-4

Key 2015-16 stats: 9.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 0.5 assists

Scouting report: The most impressive thing going for Zubac is his size. With his towering frame and ridiculous wingspan, the big man often had his way during his time with Mega Leks. His soft hands help him play above the rim, and he has the post moves on par with big men in the NBA.

What may drag Zubac down is past injuries. He suffered from a broken foot in 2015 and an injured knee in 2015, so the possibility remains that Zubac is injury-prone. On the court, Zubac lacks athleticism, forcing him to rely too much on size and length. He is not an offensive threat unless he’s in the post, and his lateral quickness will need improvement in order to keep up in the NBA.

Zubac is eager to prove his worth in the United States, telling Sportando.com, “If I get drafted, I would like to go to the NBA right away. NBA has always been my dream. I can’t wait to play there and prove myself on the biggest basketball stage in the world.”

Draft projections vary for Zubac, with predictions that he will be selected anywhere from late in the first round to midway through the second.

Notes: Zubac won a silver medal for Croatia at the U19 World Championships in 2015. A teammate of fellow NBA draft prospect Timothe Luwawu at Mega Leks, Zubac was the starting center and led the team in blocks (1.6) and ranked third in rebounds (5.1).

Related articles:

Sportando.com: Ivica Zubac says he would love to go to the NBA next season if drafted

Eurobasket2015.org: Zubac bounces back to turn heads

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Ivica zubac,
NBA draft prospect profile: USC PG Julian Jacobs 06.02.16 at 12:34 pm ET
By   |  Filed under General  |  Comments Off on NBA draft prospect profile: USC PG Julian Jacobs

As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

JULIAN JACOBS

Position: Point guard

School: USC

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 180 pounds

Wingspan: n/a

Key 2015-16 stats: 11.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists

Scouting report: Most likely a late second-round pick, Jacobs is coming off a strong junior season after two subpar seasons with the Trojans. He was a do-everything kind of athlete for the team, shooting 50 percent on 2-point field goals and averaging 1.2 steals per contest. He also led the team in assists and was third in both scoring and rebounding. Jacobs can both get into the lane and create scoring looks for his teammates, and scouts were impressed with his leadership last season.

However, Jacobs was snubbed an invitation to the NBA draft combine, suggesting that he isn’t on many team’s radars. He has a shaky jump shot, and he averaged 2.7 turnovers per game in the 2015-16 season. With Jacobs already 22 years old, his ceiling may not be very high, a red flag for NBA teams.

Notes: Jacobs made the All-Pac-12 first team after leading the conference in assists (168). He helped lead USC to its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2011.

Related articles:

Los Angeles Times: USC’s Julian Jacobs, Nikola Jovanovic snubbed from draft combine

NBCSports: USC’s Julian Jacobs to sign with an agent, turn professional

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Julian Jacobs,
Celtics Choice: Al Horford vs. DeMar DeRozan 06.02.16 at 11:14 am ET
By   |  Filed under General  |  Comments Off on Celtics Choice: Al Horford vs. DeMar DeRozan

In the days leading up to June’s NBA draft, we examine what the Celtics could do with the No. 3 overall pick and how they should approach this pivotal offseason. In that spirit, we present “Celtics choice.”

Today: Signing free agent big man Al Horford of the Hawks, or targeting free agent scorer DeMar DeRozan of the Raptors

The case for Horford

Did you watch the playoffs? The Hawks dominated the Celtics inside and even though he didn’t have a great statistical series, Horford was a big reason why. He’ll never be the focal point of an offense, but he does many things well that the Celtics value, especially on defense, where he’s capable of checking shooters on the perimeter on pick-and-rolls before retreating to defend the rim. He’d also provide a legitimate post presence and he’s an excellent inside-out passer. He’s a four-time All-Star for a reason and he’s selfless, which fits the Celtics’ model perfectly. He’d probably be good for 15-8-3 a night, conservatively, and he’s considered a winning player. If you’ve ever wondered what he’d look like in a Celtics uniform, an NBA2K16 player made that trade in the video below.

The case against Horford

He turns 30 on Friday and at times it looks like an old 30. He has suffered tears of each pectoral muscle during his career, limiting him to 11 games in 2011-12 and 29 games two years later, though he played all 82 this season. There’s also the philosophical matter of giving a max contract to a player on the wrong side of 30 who doesn’t exactly fill up the scoresheet. In a vacuum, any team would take Horford. But considering the money it will take to sign him, it’s hard to argue he’s worth it, particularly since the Celtics are looking to add an A-1 option to slot ahead of Isaiah Thomas. Horford isn’t that guy … unless he’d somehow get them Kevin Durant.

The case for DeRozan

The Celtics need scoring, and that’s basically all DeRozan has done since arriving out of USC with the No. 9 pick in the 2009 draft. He averaged a career-high 23.5 points a game this season and led the Raptors to their first Eastern Conference Finals, where they managed to deal the mighty Cavaliers their only two losses of the postseason. DeRozan is a classic scoring wing, with an excellent turnaround game in the post and the ability to get to the rim or get fouled almost at will. The majority of his points come from within 12 feet, but points are points. He finished second in the NBA in free throws made (555) and third in attempts (653), good for a career-high 85 percent from the line. He’s also a solid perimeter defender who doesn’t turn 27 until August. There’s the added bonus that signing him would rob a division rival of its best player. He’s a two-time All-Star.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 NBA free agency, Al Horford, Celtics
2015 NBA Draft Board
2016 NBA Draft
Celtics Headlines
NBA Headlines